Busy Bag Exchange

by - Monday, June 22, 2015

I recently took part in a Busy Bag Exchange and I am so happy with it that I must share with you. 

First of all, what is a busy bag? It is basically a bag of activity to keep the little ones busy. These bags can be pulled out quickly and are very easy to bring around. You can use this during periods of waiting, eg on car or train rides, in a restaurant waiting for your food or any other time when you want your child to be busy doing something constructive. If you do a Google search on 'busy bag', you will find lots of examples.

Then, what is a busy bag exchange? This is where the principle of economies of scale comes in. A group of mums/dads will get together and each will make a certain number of the SAME busy bag. When we meet up for the exchange, you exchange the bag you have made for someone else's bag. At the end, you will get back that certain number of busy bags, all with different activities to entertain your child. Isn't this a fantastic idea? It's like suddenly your child will have more than 10 new toys to play with.

For this busy bag exchange, we are making bags for toddlers, ie 2-3 years old. We have 12 persons for this exchange. 

I made a Mummy and Baby animal matching game. I Google-ed the pictures. I have included the printable for this at the end of this post. To assemble, print them out and cut them accordingly. Then laminate and cut them out again. Don't forget to round the corners. I attached velcro to the baby cards so that the child can attach the baby animals to their mummy.  

I place all the sets into individual ziplock bag and went out with 11 packets of this.

And came back with these.

A fishing game by Mummy L

J trying out the fishing game

Clip stick counting by Mummy S

Big J lining up the pegs and pretending they are trains.

Pom pom and straws stuff by Mummy J

Using this while we were out eating

Zipper board by Mummy E

Button snake by Mummy C

Funny face by Mummy C

Popsicle stick puzzle by Mummy C

Animals head and tail matching by Mummy ML

Picnic set by Mummy J

Clothesline by Mummy I

Really kudos to all the mummies who put in their efforts and time to make these. Because this busy bag exchange was so successful, we decided to arrange for another exchange. This time, I am joining the toddlers (2-3 years old) and preschoolers (4-5 years old) group. Meanwhile, I am getting busy to complete the bags before the exchange date. I am so excited and can't wait to see what I will be getting from this exchange.

Here's the printable for the Mummy and Baby Animals cards. Click on the picture below to download it.

Some of the ideas that you can use with this set of cards (credits to some of the mummies who have shared with me how their little ones played with it):

1) Simply use as flash cards to introduce the animals and baby animals.
2) Matching babies to their mummies as the intended use of this bag.
3) Make it a fun matching game by adding songs, eg 'Where is Mummy? Where is Mummy? Here I am. Here I am.'
4) Holding the baby card up like they are walking and trying to find their mummy.
5) Make a farm scene.
6) Talk about the unique attributes of each animals, eg their sound, their special feature, where they live, etc.
7) For sensory, can hide the baby cards into a sensory bin, eg beans, rice, etc. Pick out one of the baby cards and match it to the mummy card.

If you are keen to form your own busy bag exchange, don't forget to check out the busy bag exchange tips. You can also read more about the busy bag exchange that we had.

Busy Bag Exchange 1 (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Toddler (free printable)
Busy Bag Exchange 2 - Preschooler
Busy Bag Exchange 3
Busy Bag Exchange Tips
Pin the Bunny Tail (free printable)

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  1. I did a few busy bags 2 years ago and would like to know where did u find the exchange from

    1. The exchange was initiated by one of the mummies from one of the Mummies support group on FB. Email me if you want to learn more.